Monday, February 8, 2010

Researchers Find Link Between Gastroschisis and Atrazine

Researchers have found a link between the birth defect gastroschisis and the weed killer atrazine. The results will be presented in Chicago at the Society for Maternal-Fetal medicine's (SMFM) annual event: The Pregnancy Meeting.

Gastroschisis is when the intestines and other organs develop in an opening outside of the abdominal wall of the fetus. The research was done by the University of Washington where the state has double the average of gastroschisis. The researchers matched birth certificates to the U.S. Geological Survey's database of agricultural spraying. The researchers found that babies born within 25 km of water contaminated with atrazine were at higher risk for gastroschisis. They also found that babies born between the months of March and May were at higher risk.

This evidence comes on the heels of a recent New York Times expose that found that large amounts of Americans are exposed to atrazine in their drinking water. While the EPA disagrees that the public is exposed to unsafe levels of atrazine, many experts disagree. New studies have shown that atrazine can be dangerous even at legal levels. These studies also suggest that atrazine in the water can lead to birth defects, low birth weight, and menstrual problems.

According to the New York Times, the state at greatest risk in the Great Lakes region is Ohio. In Ohio over 40 percent of the population is exposed to atrazine. The only other state that is even close in the region is Indiana with just over 29 percent of the population exposed to atrazine. The rest of the Great Lakes states have under 10 percent of the population exposed to atrazine.

New York Times:
Debating How Much Weed Killer Is Safe in Your Water Glass

Science Daily:
Link Between Birth Defect Gastroschisis and the Agricultural Chemical Atrazine Found

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